I went on a date the other night with a guy I met on OkCupid. He was sweet and had planned a real date (walk on the beach followed by dinner and drinks at a lovely Japanese restaurant). I’d joked as we texted that I might be horribly burned for our date because I was spending the previous day at the beach and he showed up with a bottle of aloe lotion as a gift. It was kind, cute and generous.
We had a great conversation as we wandered the beach. Similar educational backgrounds we had plenty to talk about. We chatted, laughed. I was really enjoying myself.
As we switched from the beach to the restaurant he grabbed both my hands and gave me two small kisses on the lips. I was a little bit perplexed by this. It was a first date, a first meeting and we weren’t even at the end of it and he was already kissing me? Without asking first or gauging my reaction to a slow lean in or any of that?
Benefit of the doubt I went to dinner.
Again, it was fun and easy and I was enjoying myself.
Cut to end of the meal, standing at his car, at the end of the night.
He was really aggressive. He came at me like a freight train and obviously thought that there would be a pretty serious physical encounter between us.
Nothing terrible happened, nothing bad. But I was uncomfortable. Really uncomfortable. And I had a brief moment as I stood there with him where I saw how quickly and badly things could escalate if he was a bad dude. He wasn’t. He was just horny and aggressive. I fled the scene.
I texted him the next morning to say that I had been uncomfortable and that I thought we were looking for different things. He agreed that we wanted different things, apologized for being too forward and wished me luck. That was the end of that.
I’m not trying to paint him as a bad guy but I’m also not trying to give him a free pass. I was kissing him back and participating and probably should have fled a few minutes before I did because I had a pit of discomfort in my stomach. I didn’t feel okay about how he was being towards me.
I didn’t because I liked him and I thought I could redirect him. I couldn’t.
To be honest I went home feeling a little scared. Not because I could have seen him taking it any farther. But because I could see how easy it would be for someone to take it farther. How even with all safety precautions in place (crowded area, bringing my own car, staying sober, etc) he could have done something that I really didn’t want. Again, this wasn’t a guy who would. But. He could have been.
I left without saying anything because I didn’t want to escalate the situation. I’m glad that I did and I would do it again. It was the safest bet.
But I wish I could have sat him down and explained the concept of consent.
Each of these dates is a lesson learned. Me learning a little bit more how to speak up for myself, keep myself safe, what I will and won’t put up with. I wasn’t forward enough. I own that. I was uncomfortable and I didn’t say anything. That part is on me. He came on way too strong and didn’t ask for any sort of permission. That part is on him.
I lay in bed last night though and felt depressed. I’m trying to be an eternal optimist about love. (Regardless of how my post from a few weeks ago made it seem). I keep online dating, I keep going on first dates, I keep meeting people and trying. I encourage friends who have given up to keep going because they are great and they will meet someone. So am I and so will I.
I can see though how a date like this could make you stop trying. I went home and felt shaken and scared and icky. I haven’t shaken this feeling yet, if I’m honest.
Dating is hard because you are putting yourself out there. You don’t know what you are getting and you take a risk each and every time.
I’ll keep going and one bad end to a date won’t stop me. I’ll listen to my gut a little bit more and I’ll speak up and I’ll learn and I’ll meet someone (or I won’t). I’m not going to stop trying.